The point is to make the roleplaying hobby more visible, to get it "out of the basement" and into public areas where more people can see it. This will make others more aware of the hobby - some may ask you what your book is about, giving you the opportunity to explain the hobby to them. A few of those may be interested enough to try it themselves. Former gamers may see what you're reading and think about the great times they used to have with roleplaying, and possibly even try it again.
What book should I read in public?It's your choice. Personally, I like to choose books with nice covers that catch the eye of bystanders. One of the great things about RPG rulebooks is the incredible artwork that can be found on most of the covers. I've read books like Nobilis in public places and have always had someone comment on them.
Try to stick to more tasteful RPGs. Most people who aren't familiar with the hobby might not see the humor in Kill Puppies for Satan or Kobolds Ate My Baby, at least not right away. Don't read something that will obviously offend most of the people in the environment (such as reading Demon: The Fallen in a church). Sure, these games are as fun and harmless as the others, but it's counterproductive to the purpose of this project.
Why three weeks? Why not just one?
The problem with annual events is that they're so far apart. If you miss one, you've got to wait a whole year for the next one. Since this event is so simple to participate in, I wanted to make it frequent enough that anyone could join in, even if they've recently missed it.Why these three weeks?
March 4th was designated as GM's Day in 2008, and was coincidentally the same day that E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away. July 27th is Gygax's birthday, and October 1st is the birthday of Dave Arneson, the other co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. It is also common for the American Library Association's Banned Book Week to happen on or close to this week - and RPG books have been banned from some schools and libraries in the past due to many misunderstandings about their content and nature, which is the exact sort of thing that this event is hoping to clear up.
Why a special event? Can't I do this whenever I want?
Sure! Do it all the time! That would be awesome! The point of the event is to encourage gamers to make their hobby more public, to answer questions that non-gamers may have, and to generate interest in others who may want to try it for themselves. Making it an event like this encourages people to participate. If they continue to do likewise the rest of the year - maybe even going as far as PLAYING some RPGs in public - more the better!
But I already read RPG books in public all the time!
Great! Keep up the good work!
Do ebook versions of RPG books read on my (laptop / iPad / Kindle / other electronic device) count?
They "count," certainly, but as I'm sure you can imagine, reading an actual dead-tree version of an RPG is more in the spirit of Read an RPG Book in Public Week. The physical aspects of a book are more noticable than an image on an electronic screen, and people can always see the cover of a book, whether you're actively reading it or just carrying it around. So if you have some print RPG books in your collection, consider bringing them along instead.
Does reading a manual for a console or computer RPG count?
No. This is only for tabletop, pen-and-paper, face-to-face RPGs.
I read an RPG book in public and I have a great story to tell about what happened. Would you like to hear it?
Of course! Email it to me at so I can share it with everyone on the Escapist Blog. Send me pictures of you reading an RPG book in a public place, share your stories of where you did it and what happened (good or bad) - just remember to let me know if I have permission to post any pictures and stories on the blog, and if you would like me to change any of the names or locations for privacy reasons.
Other than reading an RPG book in public, how can I help promote this event?
Mention it on your blog or website, with a link to this page. If you like, you can use the following banners or buttons to help promote the event. I may even work up a print flyer for conventions and other events, if there is enough interest in such a thing.
If you work for a game shop, club, or convention, or publish a roleplaying magazine, I've created a full-page promo ad that features a cartoon Cthulhu relaxing in R'lyeh while reading his namesake RPG. You can get a PDF version of it here, and if you'd like the image file to put in a magazine or convention book, I have a 150dpi TIFF (no compression) version here. (If you need a different format, contact me and I'll do what I can for you.) In return, all I ask is that you let me know where and when you use the ad.
If you are a member of Facebook, you can also join the Facebook page for Read an RPG Book in Public Week, where you can RSVP for the events, post pictures, leave comments, and join discussions. If you're on Twitter and tweeting about Read an RPG Book in Public Week, be sure to use the #readrpgs hashtag, so everyone else can read your tweets. If you use Digg or StumbleUpon, make this page one of your favorites.
Thanks for participating!
* To keep myself out of trouble, I should probably mention that Read an RPG Book in Public Week is not endorsed by the creators, publishers, or distributors of Freaks and Geeks, or Stephen Lea Sheppard, and that this picture is only posted here for illustrative purposes.